(180): While the American pragmatist CS Peirce and the twelfth-century Confucian thinker Zhu Xi (朱朱) lived and worked in radically different contexts, there are nevertheless striking parallels in their view of knowledge and inquiry. Both reject the strict separation of theoretical and practical knowledge, conceiving of theoretical inquiry in a way that closely parallels practical reasoning, and they appeal to the fundamental nature of reality in order to draw conclusions about the way in which inquiry can be a component of the path towards moral perfection. Yet they prominently diverge in their account not only of the fundamental nature of reality, but also in their account of the way in which we have epistemic access to it. These connections between metaphysical fundamentality or structure and epistemology, I propose, have the potential to illuminate current discussions about fundamentality in metaphysics. Contemporary approaches that appeal either to grounding relations or to joint-carving ideology in characterizing metaphysical structure, I propose, implicitly rest on distinct sets of epistemological presuppositions that resemble the respective views of Zhu Xi or Peirce.
Nietzsche characterizes the Third Essay of On the Genealogy of Morality as “offer[ing] the answer to the question whence the ascetic ideal […] derives its tremendous power although it is the harmful ideal par excellence” (EH GM). What draws people to ideals of self-denial and self-punishment? In short, I will argue, according to Nietzsche, the same as what draws many to physical self-harm: to stop feeling like you’re going to burst out of your skin. “The ascetic ideal,” in Nietzsche’s sense, is an ideal of categorically denying certain desires (instincts, impulses, etc.). What distinguishes this type of ideal is a certain “valuation[al]” (GM III:11) stance — a stance of condemnation (demonization, mistrust) of certain of one’s desires, and correspondingly of oneself for having them or “giving in” to them (cf. III:8, 10). Perhaps one feels a pang of guilt at the first glimpse of ill-will or unforgiveness in oneself. Or one is moved in confession to include simply that one “felt lust,” jealousy, anger. Merely having the desire is treated as problematic, something to feel bad about, reason for punishment.
Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius (born: circa 475–7 C.E.,
died: 526? C.E.) has long been recognized as one of the most important
intermediaries between ancient philosophy and the Latin Middle Ages
and, through his Consolation of Philosophy, as a talented
literary writer, with a gift for making philosophical ideas dramatic
and accessible to a wider public. He had previously translated
Aristotle’s logical works into Latin, written commentaries on
them as well as logical textbooks, and used his logical training to
contribute to the theological discussions of the time. All these
writings, which would be enormously influential in the Middle Ages,
drew extensively on the thinking of Greek Neoplatonists such as
Porphyry and Iamblichus.
The relational interpretation (or RQM, for Relational Quantum Mechanics) solves the measurement problem by considering an ontology of sparse relative facts. Facts are realized in interactions between any two physical systems and are relative to these systems. RQM’s technical core is the realisation that quantum transition amplitudes determine physical probabilities only when their arguments are facts relative to the same system. The relativity of facts can be neglected in the approximation where decoherence hides interference, thus making facts approximately stable.
Dupre and Nicholson (2018) defend the metaphysical thesis that the ‘living world’ is not composed of things or substances, as traditionally believed, but of processes. They advocate a process – as opposed to a substance – metaphysics and ontology, which results to be more empirically adequate to what contemporary biology suggests.
The notion of growth is one of the most studied notions within economic theory and, traditionally, it is accounted for on the basis of a positivist thesis according to which assumptions are not relevant, as long as economic models have acceptable predictive power. Following this view, it does not matter whether assumptions are realistic or not. Arguments against this principle may involve a defense of the realistic assumptions over highly idealized or false ones. This article aims in a different direction. Instead of demanding more realism, we can accept the spirit of the mentioned thesis, but, instead, criticize the circularity that may arise by combining different assumptions that are necessary for the explanation of economic growth in mainstream economics. Such a circularity is a key aspect of the well-known problem of providing microfoundations for macroeconomic properties. It is here suggested that the notion of emergence could be appropriate to arrive at a better understanding of growth, clarifying the issues related to circularity, but without totally rejecting the usefulness of unrealistic assumptions.
In this essay, I suggest that Spinoza acknowledges a distinction between formal reality that is infinite and timelessly eternal and formal reality that is non-infinite (i. e., finite or indefinite) and non-eternal (i. e., enduring). I also argue that if, in Spinoza’s system, only intelligible causation is genuine causation, then infinite, timelessly eternal formal reality cannot cause non-infinite, non-eternal formal reality. A denial of eternal-durational causation generates a puzzle, however: if no enduring thing – not even the sempiternal, indefinite individual composed of all finite, enduring things – is caused by the infinite, eternal substance, then how can Spinoza consistently hold that the one infinite, eternal substance is the cause of all things and that all things are modes of that substance? At the end of this essay, I sketch how Spinoza could deny eternal-durational causation while still holding that an infinite, eternal God is the cause of all things and that all things are modes. I develop the interpretation more in the companion essay.1
An old question in Spinoza scholarship is how finite, non-eternal things transitively caused by other finite, non-eternal things (i. e., the entities described in propositions like E1p28) are caused by the infinite, eternal substance, given that what follows either directly or indirectly from the divine nature is infinite and eternal (E1p21–23). In “Spinoza’s Monism I,”1 I pointed out that most commentators answer this question by invoking entities that are indefinite and sempiternal, but argued that perhaps we should not be so quick to assume that in Spinoza’s system, an infinite and eternal substance could cause such indefinite, sempiternal entities. But if such eternal-durational causation is denied, then it seems harder to see how Spinoza’s system could be coherent: if Spinoza holds that the infinite, eternal substance cannot cause anything that is not infinite and not eternal, then how can he also hold that all things are modes immanently caused by substance (E1p15, E1p18, E1p25)? In this essay, I explain how Spinoza’s system could be understood in light of a denial of eternal-durational causation. On the interpretation I offer, God is the cause of all things and all things are modes because the essences of all things follow from the divine nature and all essences enjoy infinite, eternal reality as modes immanently caused by the infinite, eternal substance. The same non-substantial essences can also be conceived as enjoying non-infinite, non-eternal reality, but so conceived, they are enduring, finite (or sempiternal, indefinite) entities that cannot be conceived as modes caused by and inhering in the one infinite, eternal substance. I conclude by pointing out that if we take this interpretive route, we do have to understand Spinoza as committed to acosmism, or a denial of the reality of the world – at least the world of enduring, finite things.
I remember the night I first discovered the meaning of the word worship. That morning I had been to church and had gotten into a brief discussion with the Pastor about what he kept calling the 'worthiness of God.' I remember thinking that this phrase seemed odd to me and I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Oh, I had heard it used before. It was the sort of thing one nodded one's head to and then went on one's way. Like talk about the 'glory' of God. I was never sure what that meant either, and given all the violent things God was sometimes said to do for the sake of his 'glory' I wasn't sure I cared to know. But now I began wondering about this phrase. Worthy? Was God worthy? Worthy of what?
Our course this semester will call upon us to apply our critical reasoning to pressing ethical and political questions of our day. The English word ‘critical’ is originally derived from the Greek word ‘Kritikos,’ which means to discern or decide. Critical thinking, then, is a process of making sound decisions or judgments about the matter thought about. Not every critical examination involves matters of truth. An art critic might be more concerned to judge the beauty, or more generally, artistic merit, of the art piece under examination than its ‘truth’ per se. In philosophy, however, we are mostly concerned with truth claims. We can define critical thinking in a philosophical context, then, as the practice of trying to make sound judgments about claims concerning what is true and false.
The historically-influential perceptual analogy states that intuitions and perceptual experiences are alike in many important respects. Phenomenalists defend a particular reading of this analogy according to which intuitions and perceptual experiences share a common phenomenal character. Call this the 'phenomenalist thesis'. The phenomenalist thesis has proven highly influential in recent years. However, insufficient attention has been given to the challenges it raises for theories of intuition. In this paper, I first develop one such challenge. I argue that if we take the idea that intuitions and perceptual experiences have a common phenomenal character seriously, then a version of the familiar problem of perceptual presence arises for intuitions. I call this the 'problem of intuitive presence'. In the second part of the paper I sketch a novel enactivist solution to this problem.
In this paper I argue that Aquinas’ account of analogy provides resources for resolving the prima facie conflict between his claims that (1) the divine relations constituting the persons are “one and the same” with the divine essence; (2) the divine persons are really distinct, (3) the divine essence is absolutely simple. Specifically, I argue that Aquinas adopts an analogical understanding of the concepts of being and unity, and that these concepts are implicit in his formulation of claims about substance and relation in the Trinity. I then show how Aquinas appeals to key structural features of analogical concepts, notably, the simpliciter/secundum quid characterization, to resolve apparent conflicts between the unity of substance and distinction of relations in the Trinity.
Aesthetic values have featured in scientific practice for centuries, shaping what theories and experiments are pursued, what explanations are considered satisfactory and whether theories are trusted. How do such values enter in the different levels of scientific practice and should they influence our epistemic attitudes? In this chapter I explore these questions and how throughout scientific progress the questions we ask about the role of aesthetic values might change. I start this chapter with an overview of the traditional philosophical distinction between context of discovery and context of justification, showing how aesthetic values were taken to be relevant to scientific discovery and not scientific evaluation, which was regarded value-free. I then proceed with an exploration of different levels of scientific activities, from designing experiments and reconstructing fossils to evaluating data. In this discussion we will see that the traditional distinction between context of discovery and justification seems to break down, as aesthetic values shape all levels of scientific activity. I then turn our attention to the epistemological question: can beauty play an epistemic role, is it to be trusted, or is it a suspect value that might bias scientific inquiry? I explore how we could justify the epistemic import of aesthetic values and present some concerns as well. In the last section I ask whether we should expect the questions surrounding aesthetic values in scientific practice to change with scientific progress, as we enter the era of post-empirical physics, big data science, and make more and more discoveries using AI.
I provide a critical commentary regarding the attitude of the logician and the philosopher towards the physicist and physics. The commentary is intended to showcase how a general change in attitude towards making scientific inquiries can be beneficial for science as a whole. However, such a change can come at the cost of looking beyond the categories of the disciplines of logic, philosophy and physics. It is through self-inquiry that such a change is possible, along with the realization of the essence of the middle that is otherwise excluded by choice. The logician, who generally holds a reverential attitude towards the physicist, can then actively contribute to the betterment of physics by improving the language through which the physicist expresses his experience. The philosopher, who otherwise chooses to follow the advancement of physics and gets stuck in the trap of sophistication of language, can then be of guidance to the physicist on intellectual grounds by having the physicist’s experience himself. In course of this commentary, I provide a glimpse of how a truthful conversion of verbal statements to physico-mathematical expressions unravels the hitherto unrealized connection between Heisenberg uncertainty relation and Cauchy’s definition of derivative that is used in physics. The commentary can be an essential reading if the reader is willing to look beyond the categories of logic, philosophy and physics by being ‘nobody’.
Many physicists have thought that absolute time became otiose with the introduction of Special Relativity. William Lane Craig disagrees. Craig argues that although relativity is empirically adequate within a domain of application, relativity is literally false and should be supplanted by a Neo-Lorentzian alternative that allows for absolute time. Meanwhile, Craig and co-author James Sinclair have argued that physical cosmology supports the conclusion that physical reality began to exist at a finite time in the past. However, on their view, the beginning of physical reality requires the objective passage of absolute time, so that the beginning of physical reality stands or falls with Craig’s Neo-Lorentzian metaphysics. Here, I raise doubts about whether, given Craig’s NeoLorentzian metaphysics, physical cosmology could adequately support a beginning of physical reality within the finite past. Craig and Sinclair’s conception of the beginning of the universe requires a past boundary to the universe. A past boundary to the universe cannot be directly observed and so must be inferred from the observed matter-energy distribution in conjunction with auxilary hypotheses drawn from a substantive physical theory. Craig’s brand of Neo Lorentzianism has not been sufficiently well specified so as to infer either that there is a past boundary or that the boundary is located in the finite past. Consequently, Neo Lorentzianism implicitly introduces a form of skepticism that removes the ability that we might have otherwise had to infer a beginning of the universe. Furthermore, in analyzing traditional big bang models, I develop criteria that Neo-Lorentzians should deploy in thinking about the direction and duration of time in cosmological models generally. For my last task, I apply the same criteria to bounce cosmologies and show that Craig and Sinclair have been wrong to interpret bounce cosmologies as including a beginning of physical reality.
Johannes Kepler (1571–1630) is one of the most significant
representatives of the so-called Scientific Revolution of the
16th and 17th centuries. Although he received
only the basic training of a “magister” and was
professionally oriented towards theology at the beginning of his
career, he rapidly became known for his mathematical skills and
theoretical creativity. As a convinced Copernican, Kepler was able to
defend the new system on different fronts: against the old astronomers
who still sustained the system of Ptolemy, against the Aristotelian
natural philosophers, against the followers of the new “mixed
system” of Tycho Brahe—whom Kepler succeeded as Imperial
Mathematician in Prague—and even against the standard Copernican
position according to which the new system was to be considered merely
as a computational device and not necessarily a physical reality.
Traditionally, logic has been the dominant formal method within philosophy. Are logical methods still dominant today, or have the types of formal methods used in philosophy changed in recent times? To address this question, we coded a sample of philosophy papers from the late 2000s and from the late 2010s for the formal methods they used. The results indicate that (a) the proportion of papers using logical methods remained more or less constant over that time period but (b) the proportion of papers using probabilistic methods was approximately three times higher in the late 2010s than it was in the late 2000s. Further analyses explored this change by looking more closely at specific methods, specific levels of technical engagement, and specific subdisciplines within philosophy. These analyses indicate that the increasing proportion of papers using probabilistic methods was pervasive, not confined to particular probabilistic methods, levels of sophistication, or subdisciplines.
As with most topics in philosophy, there is no consensus about what experimental philosophy is. Most broadly, experimental philosophy involves using scientific methods to collect empirical data for the purpose of casting light on philosophical issues. Such a definition threatens to be too broad, however: Taking the nature of matter to be a philosophical issue, research at the Large Hadron Collider would count as experimental philosophy. Others have suggested more narrow definitions, characterizing experimental philosophy in terms of the use of scientific methods to investigate intuitions. This threatens to be too narrow, however, excluding such work as Eric Schwitzgebel’s comparison of the rates of theft of ethics books to similar volumes from other areas of philosophy for the purpose of finding out whether philosophical training in ethics promotes moral behavior. While restricting experimental philosophy to the study of intuitions is too narrow, this nonetheless covers most of the research in this area. Focusing on this research, we begin by discussing some of the methods that have been used by experimental philosophers. We then distinguish between three types of goals that have guided experimental philosophers, illustrating these goals with some examples.
Eugen Fischer and John Collins have brought together an impressive, and important, series of essays concerning the methodological debates between rationalists and naturalists, and how these debates have been impacted by work in experimental philosophy. The work at issue concerns the evidential value of intuitions, and as such is only a small part of the experimental philosophy corpus as I understand it. In fact, Fischer and Collins define experimental philosophy in this narrow sense in their introduction. On their view, experimental philosophy ‘‘builds on the assumption that, for better or worse, intuitions are crucially involved in philosophical work’’ (3). The parenthetical serves to emphasize that such work could either be pursued from a positive perspective aiming to vindicate the use of intuitions in philosophy or from a negative perspective aiming to undermine that use. Noting these two perspectives, it might then seem that experimental philosophy is neutral with regard to methodological debate: ‘‘experimental philosophy is not a party to the dispute between methodological rationalism and naturalism, but offers a new framework for settling it’’ (23).
The field that has come to be known as the Critical Philosophy of
Race is an amalgamation of philosophical work on race that largely
emerged in the late 20th century, though it draws from earlier work. It
departs from previous approaches to the question of race that dominated
the modern period up until the era of civil rights. Rather than
focusing on the legitimacy of the concept of race as a way to
characterize human differences, Critical Philosophy of Race approaches
the concept with a historical consciousness about its function in
legitimating domination and colonialism, engendering a critical
approach to race and hence the name of the sub-field.
One body of research in experimental philosophy indicates that non-philosophers by and large do not employ the concept of phenomenal consciousness. Another body of research, however, suggests that people treat phenomenal consciousness as essential for having free will. In this chapter, we explore the tension between these findings. We suggest that the dominant, ordinary usages of ‘consciousness’ concern notions of being awake, aware, and exercising control, all of which bear a clear connection to free will. Based on this, we argue that findings purporting to show that people take the capacity for phenomenal consciousness to be necessary for free will are better interpreted in terms of a non-phenomenal understanding of consciousness. We explore this suggestion by calling on extant work on the dimensions of mind perception, and we expand on it, presenting the results of a new study employing a global sample.
Most authors who discuss willpower assume that everyone knows what it is, but our assumptions differ to such an extent that we talk past each other. We agree that willpower is the psychological function that resists temptations – variously known as impulses, addictions, or bad habits; that it operates simultaneously with temptations, without prior commitment; and that ’s skill at exec-use of it is limited by its cost, commonly called effort, as well as by the person utive functioning. However, accounts are usually not clear about how motivation functions during the application of willpower, or how motivation is related to effort. Some accounts depict willpower as the perceiving or formation of motivational contingencies that outweigh the temptation, and some depict it as a continuous use of mechanisms that interfere with reweighing the temptation. Some others now suggest that impulse control can bypass motivation altogether, although they refer to this route as habit rather than willpower.
In the US, you are sometimes told that something “violates federal law”, and it is said in a way that suggests that violating federal law is somehow particularly bad. This raises a moral question. I will assume, contrary to philosophical anarchists, that valid and reasonable laws are in some way morally binding. …
warming—originally organized by readily identifiable vested interests—has by now recruited a large popular constituency of declared “skeptics” increasingly disposed to “take a stand”: some of them opposed to government regulation in general, some resistant to any claims to intellectual authority (perhaps especially scientific), and some mobilized by a version of the right to individual freedom of opinion. As a result, confidence in the expertise of scientists has reached an all time low: Internet sites, radio talk shows, and television channels preferentially transmit “contrarian” aacks on the credibility of climate scientists. Even our most responsible newspapers and journals, in their very commitment to the traditional ethic of “balance,” sometimes contribute to the widespread misimpression that climate scientists are deeply divided about both the extent of the dangers we face and the relevance of human activity to global warming. Not knowing who or what to believe, the natural response for most people is to do nothing, and the consequence, as Thomas Homer-Dixon wrote last year for the New York Times: “Climate policy is gridlocked, and there’s virtually no chance of a breakthrough” (2010). Meanwhile, as evidence both of the role of human contributions to global warming and the dangers of that warming continues to mount, consensus among climate scientists grows ever stronger, and those of us who aend to that evidence are increasingly alarmed.
Astronomer Charles Piazzi Smyth’s 1864–65 expedition to measure the Great Pyramid of Giza was planned around a system of linear measures designed to guarantee the validity of his measurements and settle ongoing uncertainties as to the Pyramid’s true size. When the intended system failed to come together, Piazzi Smyth was forced to improvise a replacement that presented a fundamental challenge to the metrological enterprise upon which his system had been based. The astronomer’s new system centered around a small lump of basalt, now held at Cambridge’s Whipple Museum of the History of Science, which nucleated a wide array of material and scientific considerations. Through a bipartite analysis of the physical and narrative dimensions of Piazzi Smyth’s basalt Standard, I develop the implications of its use and construction for understanding the material constitution of scientific instruments. In particular, I illustrate how instruments are locally constituted through co-accountable systems and how their material features become integrally implicated in both their uses and meanings.
In 1854 the biologist Thomas Henry Huxley pointed to a significant change in the way that reviewers were treating books that endorsed deeply flawed scientific theories. In the past, “when a book had been shown to be a mass of pretentious nonsense,” it “quietly sunk into its proper limbo. But these days appear, unhappily, to have gone by.” Due to the “uer ignorance of the public mind as to the methods of science and the criterion of truth,” scientists were now forced to review such books in order to expose their deficiencies (Huxley 1903, 1). Huxley’s observation indicates how the development of a mass reading audience in mid-nineteenth century Britain transformed the very nature of scientific controversy. Scientists were compelled to debate the validity of theories in new public sites, not just in exclusive scientific societies or in specialized scientific journals with limited circulation. It was during the nineteenth century that public controversy—not limited to science alone—became possible for the first time. In this short piece I will discuss how the “communications revolution” produced a public space for the debate over evolutionary theory in mid-nineteenth century Britain. I will focus on periodicals as one of those public spaces in which the debate took place.1
In this essay, I explore Justus Buchler’s ordinal naturalism with the goal of establishing how his phenomenological approach extends the range of human inquiry to include the many and varied traits of natural phenomena that are not “simply” the result of sensate experience or material functions. To achieve this goal I critically assess Buchler’s notion of “ontological parity”–the idea that abstract phenomena such as values, relations, ideals, and other mental contents are just as relevant as sense-data when one attempts to provide an adequate description of the world in naturalistic terms. I argue that certain phenomena, subsisting within what Buchler calls the “proceptive domain,” are legitimate objects of knowledge as they are part of a larger domain of phenomenological analysis: nature more broadly and justly understood. It is my view that in the attempt to describe the natural world Buchler’s ordinal naturalism succeeds where other forms of naturalism fail because his form of naturalism offers a more capacious view of nature that attempts to describe whatever is in any way, not just focus on what is readily apparent to specific forms of observation that may privilege one domain of analysis over another. I draw the conclusion that because Buchler’s ordinal naturalism contains within it a working principle of ontological parity, his approach to nature fulfills the criteria of the phenomenological method, and so I title his ordinal naturalism an ordinal phenomenology (Corrington 1992, 1-6, 9-14). Ultimately it is my aim to bring Buchler’s thought into closer connection with continental phenomenology, as well as to illustrate a more just and open understanding of nature through an analysis of his unique variety of philosophical naturalism.
I believe that tenured historians, philosophers, and sociologists of science— when presented with the opportunity—have a professional obligation to get involved in public controversies over what should count as science. I stress ‘tenured’ because the involved academics need to be materially protected from the consequences of their involvement, given the amount of misrepresentation and abuse that is likely to follow, whatever position they take. Indeed, the institution of academic tenure justifies itself most clearly in such heat‐seeking situations, where one may appear to offer a reasoned defense for views that many consider indefensible. To be sure, the opportunities for involvement will vary in kind and number, but I believe that we are obliged to embrace them. In the specific case of ‘demarcation’ questions of what counts as science, the people who possess the sort of general and comparative knowledge most relevant for adducing this matter are historians, philosophers, and sociologists of science—not professional scientists unschooled in these areas.
The last decade of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) and Republican period (1912-1949) saw intensive efforts to revise the Qing Code, promulgate modern legal codes based on Japanese and German law, establish a modern system of courts, and develop a professional corps of lawyers and jurists (Huang 2001; Xu 2001; Yeung 2003; Young 2004; Neighbors 2004). These institutional reforms were implemented as part of the drive to have extraterritoriality rescinded and safeguard the sovereignty of the Qing dynasty and then Republic of China. The reforms were accompanied by new categories within civil and criminal law (including a new conceptual distinction between the two), new conceptions of legal knowledge and expertise, and rich discussions over sources of law which took place within the legal realm as well as the readership of Republican newspapers and journals (Young 2004; Lean 2007). If, as Roger Berkowitz (2005, 1) writes in his study of scientific codification in continental Europe, “in a legal system, there must be some way that the law comes to be known,” how did ways of knowing law change during this period of legal reform and broader intellectual change? Through a survey of jurisprudence textbooks and other legal publications, this paper argues that writers in early 20th-century China came to define jurisprudence (faxue 法學, falixue 法理學) in positivistic terms, ultimately using new conceptions of science (kexue 科學) and social science (shehui kexue 社會科學) to identify its place within a new ordering of modern knowledge.
At the beginning of the twentieth century the high mortality rates of both mothers and babies during childbirth became a predominant concern in Britain and its empire, provoking outcries from medical and nursing professionals as well as politicians and the wider public. Infant mortality became the new marker of the vitality of the nation and a widely used indicator of general standards of health. Efforts to improve maternal and infant welfare were part of a broader shift in Britain towards public health as a government responsibility. Measures taken to reduce mortality rates emphasized state‐run initiatives in maternal education and antenatal care, the medicalization of childbirth, and scientific infant feeding and childrearing practices (Fildes, Marks and Marland 1992; Lewis 1980; Marks 1996; Davin 1997). This shift in health care policies resulted in profound changes to the experience of childbirth and to the role of the state in the area of social welfare.